When VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw is called to the lanes at the 22nd Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout, March 3-6, 2016, at Bradenton Motorsports Park, fans will see a new face among the skilled and seasoned drivers.
Vinny Palazzolo, who’s been hitting X275 hard throughout the country and has several wins under his belt, has shifted his focus to NMRA, and his very capable chariot of choice is his 2002 Mustang GT.
“I’ve been a fan of NMRA since the late ‘90s, and we never felt our combination would be competitive enough, but we’ve been watching the class lately and after some changes, we decided we would try it,” said Palazzolo, who, with his wife, Bridget Palazzolo, owns Phoenixville, Pennsylvania’s R&S Automotive Specialists, a full-service automotive repair shop that offers in-house dyno-tuning and specializes in supercharger, turbo and cam installation.
His 400 cubic-inch small-block Ford is back at Bennett Racing Engines, where Jon Bennett is upgrading it with what Palazzolo refers to as “the latest and greatest” before laughing and adding “I don’t ask him to share all of his secrets.” Bennett is also modifying the oiling system for the engine, which is based around a Shelby aluminum block and topped with billet aluminum Ultra Pro Machining heads and a Thompson Motorsports billet intake.
While Palazzolo had run a best of 4.53 at 165 mph with that engine plus a Precision Pro Mod 85mm turbo, he’s moving to a Precision 98mm turbo, and hopes to see 4.20s. He’ll look to Pressurized Solutions, which built his previous turbo kit and intercooler, to put a new intercooler in place to accommodate the new turbo.
He’ll hand his M&M Transmission-built Turboglide over to fellow racer Mark Micke for some tweaking, and he’ll rely on a ProTorque converter. While he’s currently researching options for engine management, he’s leaning toward a Haltech setup, and will continue to count on fellow racer John Kolivas of KBX Performance for tuning. His car features Racecraft front suspension components, AFCO shocks massaged by Mark Menscer, a Moser 9-inch rearend and 40-spline Moser axles. It rolls on Mickey Thompson 275 60X15 drag radials.
“Our focus is the first NMRA race of the season,” said Palazzolo. “Then we’ll run the rest of the NMRA races, some NMCA races and X275 races. We know there will be a learning curve and we know who the competition is. The guys who are competitive in the class will have their hands full trying to win.”